This article is part of our Guest Post series.
Business startups are the most vulnerable when it comes to cyber security. Key reasons for this are limited resources, lack of funds, and negligence on the part of the business owner. According to StatsCan, 1 in 5 Canadian businesses were hit by a cyber threat in 2017.
More often than not, business owners feel that they are secure because attackers may not notice them. They avoid investing in security measures thinking that they have a content-based website and as a result, no hacker would.
This is not true. Perpetrators of cyber crimes are constantly on the lookout of weak points in the system and a breach in security can cost you heavily on your pocket. With new data breach laws coming into effect, November 1, 2018: you can be fined up to $100,000 for not declaring a breach in your system where customer’s data is accessed. This means you should do everything you can to shore up defenses and have a plan in place in case of a data breach.
Let’s discuss 7 powerful tips that can help your startup to ensure cyber security.
Avoid storing too much information
Hackers mainly target on information. If your website stores too much information, it is obviously going to attract cyber-criminals. Collect customer information only if it is necessary for your business.
If the data stored is minimal, the hackers will not get much information to prey upon. As a result, you will be at lesser risk of website security getting compromised.
Have the latest security software
As technology is advancing, hackers are also evolving. They are getting more and more proficient in their job. Therefore, businesses cannot count upon antivirus, anti-spam, and firewall software tools to mitigate all security risks.
Even a startup should consider the latest software program and get the plugins updated as and when the recent version gets launched. It is recommended to have a premium version of antivirus software so that there are no inadvertent virus attacks. You can also look into email scanning and protection tools to limit the threats from malicious links and attachments arriving by email.
For more actionable IT Security Strategies, check out:
- Practical Cybersecurity to Protect Your Small Business
- Emerging Cyber Threats Your Business Will Likely Encounter and How to Defend Yourself
- What is Malware and How Can We Prevent it?
- How to Build Cyber Security in Financial Services IT
Install SSL Certificate
For strong security of website, SSL Certificate helps you to encrypt the information shared between the server and the browser.
In this way, it maintains the integrity of the sensitive customer information shared on the website. If your startup website has multiple domains, you can install Wildcard SSL Certificate so that all your subdomains also secured with a single certificate.
This will help you build trust with your customers and portray your brand as a credible one. It can also make your customers keener on buying from you knowing that their communications are encrypted and enhance your sales.
As it will drive more traffic on your website, it can help fetch you a better search engine ranking. Ultimately, it will enhance your website performance on the Internet and goes a long way to ensuring your information remains secure.
Educate your employees about website and cyber security
As a startup, you may have fewer employees that are multi-tasking and performing many roles.
It is important to educate them about the significance of website security so that they do not end up leaking any personal customer information to unauthorized sources. They should also be able to report any abnormal activity observed on the website. Invest in Security Awareness Training for yourself and your staff. You’ll be able to identify cyber threats and know what to do when you come across them.
Pro-tip: Advise all your employees as well as customers to have strong passwords that are unrelated to them. Do not have passwords like “123456” as hackers can easily guess them or be quickly discovered by brute force programs.
Limit employee access
Do not give your employees too much access to your business information or customer details. This can hamper your website security if the employee isn’t aware of all the proper security procedures. They may accidentally share something they shouldn’t or store a private file in a public space. Also, you should make sure that employees do not have access to download or install software programs on their own. Limited access implies better security – that is the bottom line.
Offer firewall security and secure Wi-Fi networks
In case you are operating on Wi-Fi in your startup organization, make sure that it is secure, hidden, and encrypted. Have a strong password so that no third-party sources can gain access into it. Look up best practices for having a secure Wi-Fi network to prevent sensitive data from leaking over it accidentally.
Moreover, you should have firewalls to refrain people outside the network from accessing data on private network.
If you’re looking to find out how secure your organizations’s IT security is, we offer two assessment services:
Vulnerability Assessment – to scan your network, connected devices, and firewall for any vulnerabilities that would allow hackers to get in.
Practices and Controls Assessment – to review your business and security processes to identify any gaps between your set up and best practices.
Always backup important business information
Backing up is critical for any startup. As startup, it’s obvious that the professionals associated with the company are trying their best to gather customer information and make the most out of the limited assets they have.
In such a scenario, if you end up losing business information, it can lead your startup to shut down. To avoid any such inadvertent circumstance, backing up the information on your web servers is a must. For more advanced start-ups and growing businesses, look into Disaster Recovery strategies that include an action plan of what to do if you lose access to data, who should be notified and a clear process to get critical systems back online.
Are you ready to fuel your startup business and propel its growth? Make sure it is secure with all the advanced technologies so that no hackers can hamper your startup progress.
Contact us, if you want to talk through how you can make cyber security a priority in your startup.